Opinion: Rain Forest Adventures

POSTED: 01/20/12 1:11 PM

Surely, Rain Forest Adventures is making a peculiar impression when it refutes claims of greenwashing its commercial activities while at the same time it makes incorrect claims on its web site that it is affiliated with Tread Lightly! – a Utah-based non-profit environmental organization.
Reading the arguments the company’s chief engineer presented in an elsewhere published letter to the editor, the only reaction one could possibly have is: wow, this is really a nice opportunity for St. Maarten. And it could be, if all these claims turn out to be realistic and truthful.
Local environmental organizations remain suspicious about the scale of the project and about what all this will really do to the integrity of the Emilio Wilson Estate.
So for future discussion, we think it’s a good idea to record the claims Chief Engineer John Dalton made in the letter he wrote in response to objections from Rueben Thompson.
The letter is rife with terms like attractive, fun, memorable, sustainable, facilitate, stimulate, promote ….- you’re still there reader?
Rain Forest claims it intends to build a museum “to celebrate the estate’s natural, cultural and historical heritage.”
Next: a program whereby local school classes volunteer to assist with reforestation.
Next: a promise to “fully restore” the historical structures on the estate. For this purpose Rain Forest has asked the archeological foundation Simarc for help.
Next: a commitment of $1 per visitor to a reforestation and maintenance fund.
Next: high exposure for heritage displays and nature programs.
Next: the indication that rain forest has the plan, the resources, the financing and the proven experience to manage the goals of the Emilio Wilson Estate Foundation. Note that there is no commitment to spend money on these goals.
Next: a promise to offer assistance to the Emilio Wilson Historical and Cultural Park for improved maintenance.
Dalton says that Rain Forest is a reputable company, that it has experience with working in environmentally sensitive locations. Promise: construction will be done using a helicopter.
That’s the long and short of it.
We seem to remember that Rain Forest also promised to create 60 local jobs.
Local environmentalists keep having their doubts. For the moment, we’re just concerned about what the Rain Forest Adventure Park will do to the protected Emilio Wilson Estate. Usually places that attract large hordes of tourists suffer the consequences one way or the other.
We figure that the plan will go through, since the company placed a vacancy ad some time ago already for a chief engineer for the local project. With that fact in mind, we think that John Dalton’s invitation to local environmentalists to join forces is at least something to consider. Who knows what a preliminary discussion with Rain Forest will bring. If the result of such talks is utterly negative there is always the option for the environmentalists to distance themselves from the project as they are doing now.
Being on the inside as an active partner could give environmentalists the opportunity to at least limit the damages to the Emilio Wilson Estate they fear. Staying on the outside seems less constructive at the moment, because that gives the developer total freedom.

Did you like this? Share it:
Opinion: Rain Forest Adventures by

Comments are closed.